As the days get shorter, the nights growing colder, a seasonal gloom inexorably settling upon us, Halloween is the perfect time to explore the morbid, the gothic, the occult and the taboo in poetry. We've compiled a list of suggestions for poetry readers eager to sink their teeth into something on the darker side. All of the books below are available to members at 25% off.
This comprehensive collection brings all poetry by the grandfather of horror together in one volume, paired also by his most crucial essays on the poetic form. A master of the uncanny, Poe's influence extends widely across genres in both poetry and prose, and this collection from Carcanet is perfect to either begin or continue a journey through gothic writing. Purchase it here.
This new anthology, edited by Sarah Shin and Rebecca Tamás, brings together a fantastical swarm of voices discussing the relationship between poetry and the occult. Emily Berry, A.K. Blakemore, Jen Calleja, Vahni Capildeo, Kayo Chingonyi and many more poets and writers are held within this tome. Purchase it here.
Symmons Roberts and Farley teamed up again on this fascinating, if morbid, non-fiction project examining the relationship between the social image of poets and the tragic ways in which many famous writers have met their end. Is the doom which hangs over great poets an illusion, or is there some truth behind it? What is the price of poetry? Find out by purchasing this here.
Greater than the invented horrors of witchcraft is the historic persecution faced by those accused of practising dark arts. This poetic narrative, depicting Suffolk witch-hunts in the seventeenth century, conjures a war-torn society in which religious paranoia amplifies local grievances to fever pitch. Witch is a damning parable that chimes with the terror and anxieties of our own haunted age. You can purchase it here.
The classic Halloween image of the skeleton is as fascinating as it is unnerving. Hardaker's debut celebrates the beauty and structure of bones though folk tales, philosophy, daydreams and night terrors, conjuring an array of fantastical worlds and characters. Purchase this here.
We could do no better than Heather Phillipson at describing this translated work:
“Beast enters incisively, like claws. It arrives with gleaming fur and stinking. It’s a creature that spills its guts and impels the same from others—peoples, animals, limbs, foodstuffs, logical thinking, familial and sexual relations... Beast comes swiftly, with a brazen laugh and cocked ears. Watch out when the lines pause for weird and possibly lethal detours. As Solà jolts, pulses and pushes off, she might leave the paths littered with bouquets or corpses.”
Enough said! Purchase this title here.